Mouth

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Pub Date 11 Jun 2024 | Archive Date 28 May 2024

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Description

"This surreal collection of stories will blow your mind." —Debutiful

“These stories are so sharp, so strange, so precise - like perfect razors, meant to cut to the heart and open it up to the gasp of pain but also, to astonishing beauty.” —Amber Sparks, author of And I Do Not Forgive You

"Mouth is a work that will leave you forever changed." —Megan Kamalei Kakimoto, author of Every Drop Is a Man’s Nightmare

BESTIARY MEETS THE DANGERS OF SMOKING IN BED IN THIS COLLECTION OF 11 EERIE, UNCANNY, AND SURREAL SHORT STORIES


In this debut collection, Puloma Ghosh spins tales of creatures and gore to explore grief, sexuality, and bodily autonomy. Embracing the bizarre and absurd, Mouth stretches reality to reach for truth.

“Desiccation" follows a teen figure skater with necrophiliac fantasies who is convinced the other Indian girl at the rink is a vampire. When a woman returns to Kolkata in “The Fig Tree,” she can’t tell if she is haunted by her dead mother or a shakchunni — or both. “Nip” bottles up the consuming and addictive nature of infatuation, while “Natalya” is a hair-raising autopsy of an ex-lover. In “Persimmons,” a girl comes to terms with her own community sacrifice.

Full of fangs and talons, Mouth lays bare the otherwise awkward and unmentionable with a singular sharpness. Through surreal and captivating prose, Puloma Ghosh delves into otherworldly spaces to reimagine ordinary struggles of isolation, longing, and the aching desires of our flesh.
"This surreal collection of stories will blow your mind." —Debutiful

“These stories are so sharp, so strange, so precise - like perfect razors, meant to cut to the heart and open it up to the gasp of...

Marketing Plan

• Cover reveal on Astra House social media • National media campaign including print, radio, podcasts, and online coverage • Pitch for feature stories and profiles, as well as original pieces by the author • Select local author events and festivals • Target outreach to publications and reviewers focused on debuts, literary fiction, genre and speculative fiction, immigrant and first-generation American narratives, and surrealism • Halloween, Valentine’s Day, and Pride Month push • Influencer outreach in social media channels with early ARC giveaways

• Cover reveal on Astra House social media • National media campaign including print, radio, podcasts, and online coverage • Pitch for feature stories and profiles, as well as original pieces by...


Available Editions

EDITION Other Format
ISBN 9781662602474
PRICE $26.00 (USD)
PAGES 240

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Average rating from 44 members


Featured Reviews

"Bestiary meets The Dangers of Smoking in Bed." Say no more. I'm sold!

This is a great collection of short stories. The prose is beautiful and with each sentence I never knew what was coming next. And I love that. I also love the titles of all these stories.

I'd definitely recommend this collection to fans of Ottessa Moshfegh or Hiromi Kawakami, because the stories and writing reminded me of them at times. I've never read this author before but now I'll read literally anything she writes.

Here are my reviews for each story and a rating out of 10.

Desiccation 9/10
I liked the pacing of this story, and how all the different elements were balanced. The world building felt unobtrusive. I liked the backdrop of ice skating competitions. I love how the story is subtle even though it's very visceral and surreal.

The Fig Tree 5/10
I think I might have read this at the wrong time. I was a bit unfocused and maybe thats why I was a bit bored at parts of this story. I liked the descriptions of the environment and themes of grief.

Leaving Things 10/10
WOW! Wolf short stories are a bit of a cliche, but this story is very unique and well done. I loved the opening scene. The story has a good balance of internal and external conflict/stakes. Usually I prefer shorter stories but this was an exception. This was excellent.

K 8/10
I found the main character to be very unhinged but in a good way, in an interesting way. It could have been a bit shorter I think.

In the Winter 10/10
This was really good. I love a short and sweet story that is very sure of itself. It's the kind of story you can read many times and glean more from it with each read.

Anomaly 9/10
There's a lot to take in at the beginning of this story, and I was a bit overwhelmed, but it pays off nicely. Dystopian-ish short stories aren't usually my favourite but I'm so impressed by the world the author created here. She's very talented.

Lemon Boy 9/10
The character voice is really strong. I loved the party setting. This was just really interesting and unique.

Supergiant 8/10
I loved the second half of this story a lot more than the first half. The author is really good at creating worlds. It's not easy for short stories.

Nip 9/10
Again, I love a brief story. This was wacky in the best way possible.

Natalya 10/10
WOW! This was crazy good. Like it's leagues above all the other stories in this collection so far and that's saying something because they've all been amazing.
This story is so special. It's one of those stories that shows just how awesome short fiction can be, and pushes it's limits and creates something amazing. The prose really shines in this story. It was noticeably much stronger than in some of the other stories. There's a lot of flashbacks, an unconventional amount, but it worked so well and felt natural, and it wasn't jarring at all. The author pulled it off so well. This is officially an all time favourite short story.

Persimmons 7/10
This is a good story. For some reason I just struggled to want to read it. There are some super cool paragraphs and imagery in here. I liked the ending.

A NetGalley ARC review

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If I could give this book 100 stars, I would. I had a fantastic time with these weird, horrifying short stories, that feature (sometimes) far too relatable characters dealing with loneliness and isolation. The prose was stunning and had me highlighting like crazy. I look forward to anything Puloma Ghosh writes in the future and will absolutely be picking up a hard cover to annotate when it releases . I don't even have the words for a long review because I have no criticism, this was perfect.

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Thank you to Netgalley for the ARC. This book was such a fun collection of weird and horrifying stories that were so entertaining. Not one was dull and the characters were all so fleshed out and crafted extremely well. The prose was beautiful and precise. A great collection of short stories, 5/5 stars.

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4.25 stars

Okay. I loved this. I truly did. Each story could have been longer to be honest and I would have eaten it up lol

Desiccation - 4/5 - what an opening!

The Fig Tree - 2/5 didnt love this one as thst opener but well written

Leaving Things - 5/5?????? Looooool I loved this. Damn I'd honestly read a full story of it.
K - 4/5?? Or 3.75?? I wonna know more. I wonn know wtf went on
In the Winter - same as above but maybe 4 because despite it being the shortest so far, I wonna know what the hell he was and what happened
Anomaly - 3/5 all of these could be an episode of Black Mirror but this one specifically felt like an episode.
Lemon Boy - same as above with the Black Mirror feeling 3.25 /5
Supergiant - 2/5???
Nip - this was a trip lol I reread it twice lol maybe 3.75??
Natalya - not my fave 2/5
Persimmons - 2.25/5

Overall the writing I adored. I loved how each story had something shocking, sad, disturbing, you name it, I'm so so so happy to have went for this to review. Wow.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC to review

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What a spectacular debut... Puloma Ghosh's Mouth is a collection of eleven genre-defying, poignant stories each connected by literal and metaphorical references to mouths. Although none of the stories take place in the world we know (there's always a surreal twist), each piece feels resoundingly familiar. Ghosh is able to go for the jugular, assessing the affect of the times with frightening clarity. Every story touches on what it means to experience loss, alienation, and loneliness—feelings that I know many of us can relate to, especially after the global pandemic.

In one story, a girl grapples with her place in the world after the government commandeers every man over the age of eighteen while she falls for a fellow figure skater with an appetite for rats. In another, a yellow-haired boy recounts the death of his girlfriend, her presence at a party, and the curious appearance of holes. In yet another, a woman decides to remain in a city on the brink of collapse as it becomes overrun by wolves.

Ghosh's stories are engaging, sapphic, creative, bizarre, and (at times) darkly humorous. The author's literary prowess is clear. All the stories compliment one another well and help illuminate aspects of one another. I read the collection in a single sitting. Reading these stories scratched an itch that I didn't know I had, I can't recommend it enough. Mark your calendars!

Thank you to Astra Publishing House and Netgalley for a chance to review the ARC!

https://www.instagram.com/p/CzaQUc4rTn-/?igshid=MXJsbGk4bG5xNWxwcw==

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"Mouth" is unlike anything I've read. As soon as I finished I wanted to reread it. All of the stories are grounded in reality but have supernatural/sci-fi elements. All of the stories had me asking myself "what the hell just happened?", but in the best way! The stories are bizarre, horrific, sometimes sad, and always beautiful. My favorite stories were "Desiccation", "Leaving Things", "K", "Anomaly", "Nip", and "Natalya".

I especially loved that many of the stories were queer. The stories are grounded so much in the queer experience and Ghosh beautifully and uniquely presented it in all its pain and all it's glory.

Do yourself and favor and give "Mouth" a chance. I admit that this book may not be for everyone but I think if you take the time to sit with each story you will find the beauty in all of them.

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Puloma Ghosh's "Mouth" comprises eleven stories that defy genres, each intricately linked by both literal and metaphorical references to mouths. While none of the narratives unfolds in our familiar reality—each bearing a surreal twist—there's an underlying resonance in every piece. Ghosh fearlessly delves into the essence of our times, offering a chillingly clear assessment of its impact. The stories, though otherworldly, explore universal themes of loss, alienation, and loneliness, emotions that many of us can deeply connect with, especially in the aftermath of the global pandemic.

Ghosh's stories are not only engaging but also richly creative, bizarre, and occasionally darkly humorous. The author's literary prowess shines through, and the stories complement each other seamlessly, shedding light on various facets. I devoured the entire collection in one sitting; reading these stories scratched an itch I didn't know I had and got me out of a really bad reading slump.

I wholeheartedly recommend it

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I love a weird book and this one definitely hit the mark. There was not a single one of the short stories that I didn't enjoy. Bizarre, spooky, funny, disturbing, a great debut collection, and a pleasure to read. Looking forward to what comes next from Puloma Ghosh!

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This collection is SO right up my street, I think I have found a new favourite/auto-buy author? And that based on her debut?? Incredible. And finding a short story collection in which I *love* and the rest which I really enjoyed too, is like finding a pair of shoes that fit your feet perfectly. Walking on air.

Mouth is a collection of stories in various styles: ontemporary fiction with some heavy subjects that are dealt with beautifully, mystery, horror, intrigue, suspense, dystopia, science fiction - and all of it in short stories that are so elegantly composed that you get lost in them within sentences, and resurface with a feeling of amazement and wonder. Also: (some of) this shit is so weiiiird. Exactly the kind of weird that floats my literary boat.

Favourite stories (in order of appearance)
🌳 The Fig Tree
Touches upon grief, displacement and otherness so beautifully. I was transported and found myself moved by her journey, and I lovewd the mythological aspects.

🐺 Leaving Things
Intriguing! Dystoping! Transformative! I am obsessed with this story and the wolfish element in it, that had a surprising turn of events.

🎓 K
I was terrified reading this story and I was happy it was done but also so impressed with how scared I got over a short story.

🕥 Anomaly
This reminded me a lot of Loki (which I am currently in the middle of season 2 of) so needless to say I loved the dystopian/timeline narrative and g(h)osh does she write well to create a whole new world and make it so incredibly easy to get into in a short story???

🍹 Lemon Boy
I was as obsessed with the whole holes thing as they were.

📓 Natalya
This was EXQUISITE. Favourite story of the collection.

If I haven't convinced you to pre-order this book and keep an eye out for this author, I urge you to do so.

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Weird queer short stories! We love weird queer short stories! And these short stories were very good, and very weird, and very queer.

MOUTH is a beautifully done debut collection from an author to watch, full of stories which danced between literary fiction, speculative fiction, and horror with grace and style. I didn’t connect with every story, but I found a lot to appreciate even in the ones which didn’t make my “favorites” list. Ghosh's writing is beautiful; the stories are inventive and gorgeously crafted, the characters are compelling and layered, and every story had its own unique and extremely evocative atmosphere.

My personal top three stories: “Supergiant,” “Natalya,” and “The Fig Tree.” Highly recommended, and Ghosh is most definitely an author to watch.

Thank you so much to Astra House and Netgalley for the advance copy!

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I recently read Mouth by Puloma Ghosh and was completely blown away by the author's writing style. In her debut collection, Ghosh uses speculative fiction to push the boundaries of reality and explore complex themes such as grief, intimacy, sexuality, and bodily autonomy.

One of the things I loved most about this book is the way the author blends the bizarre and absurd with the truth. Each story in the collection is unique and captivating in its own way. For instance, in "Dessication," a teen figure skater with necrophiliac tendencies is convinced that the only other Indian girl at the rink is a vampire. In "The Fig Tree," a woman returns to Kolkata and is haunted by her deceased mother or a shakchunni, or both. While in "Persimmons," a girl comes to terms with her own community sacrifice.

The surrealism in Mouth is both intriguing and captivating. Ghosh's writing style is sharp, vivid, and wholly original. She blurs the lines between conventional reality and the otherworldly, giving fangs, talons, and singular sharpness to the otherwise ordinary, awkward, and unmentionable. The author's exploration of the everyday struggles of isolation, longing, and the aching desires of our flesh is both poignant and thought-provoking.

Overall, Mouth is an excellent debut collection that showcases Puloma Ghosh's unique voice and imaginative storytelling. The book is a must-read for fans of speculative fiction and those who appreciate writing that is both daring and original. I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a surreal and thought-provoking read.

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Thank you NetGalley so much for the arc!!!

I went into this collection without really knowing what I'll encounter, but I was pleasantly surprised. I really liked the prose, the concept of the stories and not knowing what will come next. I liked the skillful way Puloma Ghosh used dark humor and body parts and fluids in her stories to reach the most inner emotions of the reader.

A pleasant surprise and I will be picking up more Ghosh in the future, can wait to see what will come next!

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Puloma Ghosh weaves several haunting tales in her first book, Mouth. Each story, whilst separate, is connected by the key theme - body horror - or more specifically - mouths. The stories range from speculative to bizarre, each provoking thoughtful questions, and cover topics such as vampirism, existentialism, self and other.

My favourite of the bunch was the second, Leaving Things, and I wish there was more of it to read. Each of the stories could be made into a novel and I would read (and adore) every single one. Ghosh’s use of language was very refreshing and would love to read more from her in the future.

An incredible debut book.

3.75/5 stars

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Short stories have a tendency to leave me wanting more because they don’t feel fully fleshed out. Puloma Ghosh does not suffer from this problem, even the shortest of the stories included gives you a complete idea of the world it’s set in. The prose is beautiful, and leave you feeling intrigued. You want for more, not because the writing was lacking but because the story is so interesting you don’t want to leave it yet.

The lowest I would rate any of the eleven stories would be an 8/10… however most are 9s or 10s.

My favorite stores are Desiccation, The Fig Tree, & Leaving Things.

Desiccation is set in a dystopian world, where there is an unseen war and government whisking everyone away… but also a girl who may just be a vampire.

The Fig Tree follows our lead going back to her homeland after her mother dies, feeling disconnected from her family but confronting a spirit at her old home.

Leaving Things is wild ride from start to finish. Wolves are dragging off the women of her small town, and yet when our lead finds a dying pregnant wolf she attempts to save her. The wolf dies but cuts at the belly to save the baby, only to remove a human baby. She decides to raise him.

Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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I went into this not knowing what to expect, and I was surprised! I actually really enjoyed this. The stories in this range from existentialism, to stories covering the topic of the self, a plethora of questions most times quite bizarre in nature, and even vampirism. It was a very fascinating read I highly recommend!

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Listen, if you had told me I would be intrigued by a book full of short stories that all shared the theme pf consumption would make me feel absolutely insane, I would’ve believed you. I mean, you did read that, right? there is absolutely no way I could’ve escaped this book, even if I wanted to.


“Mouth” by Puloma Ghosh had me wrapped around its finger, with stories set in different worlds, none of them the same as ours. In one, we learn about a woman living in a town that it’s been killed by wolves. In another, a man shares the story of the death of his girlfriend, and the weird appearance of of holes in his life. All stories in this book are correlated to theme of being consumed and consume in return, and although they do not happen in our world and there is always something supernatural going on, it manages to connect with us through things that all of us humans go through: loneliness, finding our own place in the world, heartbreak and grieve.

There is no part of me that expected this to be THIS good. Not only was it fascinating, it was also a very fun and quick read. It made me anxious to see what Puloma has to offer us, and excited for what’s coming next from her. I can’t wait!

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆

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I am blown away. This is an absolutely incredible collection of short stories. And it's a debut?! It is so well written and captivating. It is weird and unusual but in the best ways. I can't wait to read more from this author!! I'm so thrilled to have read this. Thank you, NetGalley, for the copy to review.

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An amazing short story collection! With human sacrifices, autopsies of ex lovers and humanoid creatures this collection ranged from creepy, to funny, to sad, to strange. Really impressive debut and I will definitely be checking out the authors future work as well.

My favorite short story collection I've read this year.

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Thank you to NetGalley and Astra House for the ARC

Mouth - story individual rankings
Desiccation
- hot ! five stars

The fig tree
- fun ghosts, slow pace. my Engl profs would love teaching this one, and I think I’d like it more in discussion

Leaving things
- Marie de France would be proud with how the Bisclavret tradition has become
- Also Freud
- My favie so far

K
- “be careful with words that aren’t yours”
- ending was yummy, the narrator was kind of flat and sour

In the winter
-

Anomaly
- confusing, “romantic?,” can absolutely see this happening.

Lemon boy
- Good story,, weird ending? Could’ve been more conclusive imo

Supergiant
- sexual, but in a clinical way. It’s easy to find meaning in a love curated for the shell of your old self

Nip
- I’m not so sure abt this one. A little too abstract, but beautiful nonetheless

Natalya
- Obsessed with this form of an autopsy report amongst lovers

Persimmons
- EAT

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Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the ARC to review!
All the stories were deliciously eloquent and there was a substantial amount of twists through that blew my mind. These stories are engaging and morbidly humorous and I simply couldn’t get enough. As i’m writing this review, each one of these stories are on the top of my mind and I don’t think I will be able to forget them.

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Short stories tend to be a harder sell for me - by the time I find myself invested it usually ends and leaves me questioning the point. The author does an incredible job here of fully fleshing out entire worlds within each of the stories, creating surreal backdrops for bizarre things to happen that still feel familiar and even make sense in twisted ways. I loved the common theme of devouring and being devoured in return present throughout each story, and they were all distinctive while remaining cohesive. This is a collection that I think will stay with me, and I’m excited to see what’s next from the author.

Thank you to NetGalley, the publisher, and the author for the ARC!

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This was such an amazing short story collection. The writing was beautiful and lyrical - I highlighted so many quotes that really resonated with me. Each story was unique but there were similar themes of love, grief and of course mouths. I loved how each story was set in a world similar yet different to our own. It was surreal, weird and sometimes sad but I absolutely loved reading it.

My favourite stories were:
The Fig Tree - A great display of grief. Tender but with a sliver of weirdness too.
Anomaly - Such an interesting concept and beautifully told.
Natayla - I loved how it was told as an autopsy report. Heartbreaking.

I cannot recommend this enough!

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What a debut! This short story collection is for all those who love the absurd and bizarre.
It's very impressive how eloquent each single story was and how atmospheric they were. I would definitely read something by the author again.

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A stunning short story collection! Fantastic world building and characterization, something that always feels impossible to pull off in a short story but Ghosh makes it look breezy. Every story felt new and fresh while the collection still felt like a whole piece.

My only complaint is that a few of the stories would have benefited from a longer length. Because these stories have are so rich in world building, the short lengths made the stories feel more like ideas. I think some of these stories could be incredible novellas or even full-length novels.

Very strong collection overall and I’m so excited to follow Ghosh’s career.

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What an INCREDIBLE short story collection and debut author! I don't give out such compliments lightly, but Puloma Ghosh to me is on the same level as Han Kang, Otessa Moshfegh and Lisa Taddeo when it comes to writing raw, poignant, relatable and hard-hitting stories.

I loved all of these stories, though my absolute favorites were the fig tree (it perfectly captures what it feels like to be grieving and to feel disconnected from your home town), leaving things (it reminded me of The Vegetarian by Han Kang and this is the biggest compliment I can give a book honestly), supergiant (how unique!), anomaly (one of the coolest stories I have ever read, blew me away, pure perfection), & Natalya.

I will gush about this book for the rest of the year OMG!

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hooooly moly, new fav alert!!!

I was utterly obsessed w/ this collection of stories. these stories were dark, weird, captivating, sapphic and surreal. I kept being so satisfied with each story, waiting to lose interest as the stories progressed, and I never did! I loved the topics explored, a lot of magical realism, grief, heartache, and dystopian themes. seriously devoured this and will devour anything else ghosh puts out into the world. a seriously incredible debut <3

thank you net galley and astra house! I will be thinking + talking about this one for a while.

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I included this wonderful collection in a round-up article on books I am looking forward to in 2024 at Michigan Quarterly Review. Here is what I wrote about it:

"Beautiful and unsettling, creepy and so deeply human: this collection delights with the unexpected, in the gorgeous prose, in the unbound imagination in the stories, and in the formal play. It presents us with ghosts, bottled infatuation, teen figure skaters with a necrophilic bend, and a story in the form of an autopsy report. All while interrogating lies, truth, and what is real in the vivid description that brings the world Ghosh creates alive."

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I don’t normally tend to gravitate towards short stories and I find myself asking questions and not getting into the story by the time it ends but these 11 short stories all felt very fleshed out and descriptive. These were all creepy, dystopian and captivating in the best way and I’ll definitely be reading future work by this author!

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Each story in Puloma Ghosh's debut, Mouth, gnawes its way to your brain with its sharp teeth of prose. Sucking you into its dark holes of worlds. Worlds that are a little too bizarre but modernly original. In Natalya, you intimately dissect her cadaver, her warmth once memorized. In Persimmons, you witness a martyr's welcoming embrace for the state of ruination. A dystopia awaits in Leaving Things, raising a boy wolf into a man. These are just three of the eleven mouth-watering stories of surrealism, queerness, grief, and sometimes ambiguous loss. Truly a feast of tangy endings.

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I loved this collection of strange, often horrifying stories. Each was immensely enjoyable, and I felt drawn into the worlds immediately. If I could think of a connecting thread it would perhaps be loneliness? Though in their strangeness alone there's a connection there. These were great, and I'll read anything Ghosh writes next.

Thanks to the publisher for the e-galley!

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THIS. OMG. THIS. I am forever grateful to Astra House Publishing for sending me an advanced copy of Mouth: Stories before it hits shelves on June 11, 2024. I know this is a ways away, but yall need to have like pre-ordered this one YESTERDAY or something because, HOLY FRIGGIN CRAP, that was amazing.

This is Puloma Ghosh's first novel, but you'd hardly be able to tell because the writing is so exquisitely scrumptious, leaving me craving more after every story. There were narratives of all shapes and sizes, covering most sapphic angles and breaching into monstrous territories. Overall, there were continuous themes of Body Horror, and I just ate these stories up. From sacrificial persimmon trees taking first-born daughters, to ghosts of roommates' past coming for a visit, and even vampiric figure skaters taking what they're owed... there's something here for everyone.

PRE-ORDER IT NOW!

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Love that we are getting more weird girl fiction. Every short story is odd, unsettling, and bizarre. Some involved beautiful exploration of vampires, sapphic love, and dystopian I love the way Puloma Ghosh writes about grief, sexuality, and mothering, I found myself re-reading some of the hauntingly beautiful stories in the novel like "Leaving Things" and "K". I can't wait to own the physical copy.
Thank you Netgalley and Astra house. It was a privilege to read this.

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Thank you Netgalley and Astra publishing for ARC in exchange of an honest review.



Mouth

11 Stories by Puloma Ghosh

- **Dessication**

> Ma always told me we had to accept the logic of the world we were given and learn to live in it. Maybe she would have let that logic swallow me like it swallowed my father, his warm hands, the buttons on his cuffs that were once larger than my fingernails.
>
> Our world shrank, but after the initial shock and a few transi-tional years, most people in our town became comfortable. If there was unrest anywhere, we couldn’t see it. Some even argued things became better for women, as the world was seldom good to them before, but that might have been propaganda fed to us by the Bureau. Even as a child, I wondered what was “good” about being left behind.
>

Story of Meghana, an Indian girl in foreign country who's asked by her mother to befriend another Indian girl, Pritha. Pritha is well, something totally unbelievable.

- **The fig tree**

> Ankita sees how a room can be oppressive, how idleness can be hypnotic.
>

Story of a grieving woman Ankita, who comes back to her country for her mother's last burial rituals but Haunted by something beyond her imagination.

- **Leaving things**

> I was born only to become my mother’s silhouette against the oval window of our front door, watching another man walk away.
>

This is story of a vet doc who is living in a small town which has been emptied under government orders as something sinister is happening but she choses to stay and comes across something which is beyond anyone's imagination. This is kind of a story that I will always remember.

- **K**

> There’s a truth, no matter how buried, no matter how many better, more appetizing truths have been spun around it.
>

> I learned the best lies are half- truths.
>

A young girl, an apparition of another girl K that appears in her room often. In her dreams too. There's a mystery and there's something strange that marks the end of the story. Another story which made an impact on me.

- **In the winter**

> In the winter I’m pretty because the loneliness makes my face slack, my eyes intense. There are no stories without loneliness.
>

Is this a werewolf story?? I think it is. Short yet powerful.

- **Anomaly**

> Predictably, humanity couldn’t invent anything without fucking up the environment and commodifying what was left.
>

> You would think the introduction of time travel and extratemporal diplomats and stealthy timeline disrupting agents would give every one a new perspective on life. Our species was allegedly on the cusp of evolution, spies sweeping in from other timelines to influence us, but people were still as corny and boring as ever.
>

This story felt like a black mirror sci fi. If you want to enter anomaly you might come across someone you don't want to but in reality you want to like a confrontation with a dead ex lover.

- **Lemon boy**

> There was something horrific about facing a party alone. It made you both invisible and vulnerable at once.
>

Do you see holes around you? I started seeing few after reading this story.

- **Supergiants**

> Even if I showed up at my own mother’s door, she wouldn’t recognize me. There’s barely anything left of the person who grew in her womb, just a bit of organ tissue, a few nerve endings. I’m so utterly free it’s paralyzing.
>

A popular celebrity but what they lost in the process nobody really knows. There's always a cost for everything.

- **Nip**

> “Colors can feel; that’s why they make us feel. If I love a color enough, it can love me back.”
>

This might be the hardest story to explain. Where to even start? There's something totally unexplainable about this story. I have no words. A story of what complete overt obsession can result into.

- **Natalya**

> “You can’t choose the things you remember, The important things will find you.”
>

> I don’t know if I loved you, yet you linger within me like an appari-tion.
>

> You have to be afraid to live.
>

One of the stories which I liked the most. The protagonist is suicidal, currently performing an autopsy on someone he had relationships in the past - an ex- lover.

- **Persimmons**

> Uma always thought fate was a choice.
>

There's a tree, there's a girl and there's a purpose until only one remains. It is about a girl's coming to terms with what society expects from her.

The stories are eerie, absurd and allegorical and leave an everlasting impression on reader's mind. I would not recommend it to everyone although I totally enjoyed reading them. They have a shock factor as well as some gore which many readers can find uncomfortable to read. In all stories the reality is stretched beyond imagination, the creatures like vampires, werewolves and some even that I'm not able to explain are given life. These short stories explore sexuality, grief and happiness, isolation and loneliness and longing to be with someone you loved and even necrophilia.

Highly recommended who like this kind of gore subjects.

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My mind is blown over this incredible debut collection of weird horror! I only wish I had read it with a friend or two to talk out each story, share reactions to the awesome connections and explore the surreal vibes!

The writing is hypnotic and captivating. The relationships between the 11 stories are secretly flawless. Mouths: stories is an instant favourite. Fans of Julia Armfield will love this!

Picking favourites felt easy at first but when I went back to quickly review them, I realized how incredible each of them are for different reasons.

My 5 ⭐️ favs are; Lemon Boy, K, Leaving Things, Natalya and The Fig Tree.

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I didn’t know Puloma Ghosh at all before picking this book on Netgalley, I was just intrigued by the cover art. This “strategy” has sometimes backfired for me in the past, but this time it didn’t. Intriguing might be the right word for the whole collection, because each of the stories was unexpected and strange in some wayd.

Sometimes it’s an alternative world or a dystopia, sometimes it goes into horror territory. It’s often dark, almost always weird. It reminded me of Kelly Link’s stories, but I must confess it’s been a while since I read Link. Ghosh is a young Indian-born American woman, and some stories allude to immigrant experience or travel back to India, but it’s not the main point of these stories.

I enjoyed Leaving things most, as it starts in a town that inhabitants are slowly deserting because of a dark menace around wolves. It’s maybe a werewolf story, but it would be too easy to classify it only like that. Another story I loved is Lemon Boy, a boy that the narrator meets at a party and who tells her about strange holes where people disappear. The Fig Tree is a slightly more traditional haunting story of a young girl who recently lost her mother and is traveling to her native country with her father. The first story of the collection, Desiccation, took me a while to get into, because at first you’d think it’s a realist story of an immigrant girl who is supposed to befriend the only other immigrant girl in town, except that the second girl is… let’s just say uncanny to not spoil anything? and the town they live in is in a world without any adult men.

All stories are very atmospheric, but sometimes I found that what was supposed to happen was a bit too vague for me. It’s been a while I was looking for the right reference that this collection reminded me of, and I finally got it: 2 years ago I read Life Ceremony, a collection of weird short stories by Sayaka Murata. Although Murata’s stories are precise in a very Japanese way, they both share something of surreal mixed with horror. I’m glad I discovered Ghosh and would gladly read other stories by her.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley. I received a free copy of this book for review consideration.

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I loved every story in Mouth, this debut novel of short stories. That rarely happens with me. I appreciate that not every one will be for me but I was seduced by the imaginative stories and writing. This collection of speculative fiction starts with the ordinary lives of people but soon becomes haunting, surreal and evocative. Even if you don't like all the stories, I think you will enjoy most of them. Definitely a book to reread at different stages of your life to appreciate them from a new perspective.

Thank you NetGalley and Astra Publishing House, Astra House for a copy of this ARC to review.

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